||Monday, March 23, 2009
Every Monday night, a pig hops on a Poggio stick in Sausalito:
This sumptuous, sausage-stuffed porchetta ($16.00):
... was spit roasted in their wood burning oven before rolling onto a plate of tomato sauced, perfectly cooked Great Northern beans.
If you are a carne-voider or if you simply want a great compliment to this swine supper, get a Verdure ($14.00):
... this platter of asparagus, romanesco, broccoli di cicco, spinach and carrots is not the typical act of aggression towards vegetarians found in most restaurants - it dresses up dinner for those who skirt the steak.
This Monday-only pig treat is not only delicious, it’s a great deal. So hop on the stick to get what is hopping off.
||Sunday, March 22, 2009
Rhone varietal wines produced in the United States were the focus at Fort Mason during this afternoon’s 12th Rhone Rangers wine tasting:
The Meyer Family Cellars 2004 Syrah was no lemon with its lush raspberry aroma.
Holly’s Hill Vineyards:
... 2007 El Dorado Petite Syrah’s lovely blackberry and peppery finish made them king of the hill.
We were delighted to savor Charles Chocolates:
... salted caramels:
... since we missed them at yesterday’s cocoa convention...que syrah...
... was sampling L’Aventure as we greeted him midway through his evaluation process. We l’oved their 2006 Paso Robles Estate Cuvee:
The Rhone Rangers tasting is always a great opportunity to unmask some Tonto-lizing wines before riding off into the sunset.
12th annual Rhone Rangers wine tasting
San Francisco, CA
||Saturday, March 21, 2009
Although we didn’t go so far as to paint ourselves with it:
... we dutifully saturated ourselves with chocolate as judges at the San Francisco International Chocolate Salon.
We enjoyed lime truffles from Neococoa, adMeyered Dolce Bella’s lemon ganache filled chocolate (using from Meyers from her own garden) and 40fied ourselves at WD (aka William Dean):
... with their cassis crunch:
... (which could be bottled as a perfume.)
The solid Elephant Trinitario:
... and Criollo chocolate from Choclatique:
... is stampede worthy with well rounded, complex flavors presented without distraction.
We scratched our heads when it came to Choffy:
... which are chocolate beans brewed in the manner of our favorite morning beverage. We couldn’t get behind this carobbean coffee but, to be fair, we did speak to a friend who enjoyed it.
I don’t know what the hell these people were doing here:
The Montanya bar from Amano:
... was amanopoetic as was their Ocumare milk bar.
Nibs are not usually available as single origin products, and in sampling Amano’s, we were impressed by each one’s distinctive flavors:
They were better than any nibs we had ever tried before.
As far as we were concerned, Amano produced the best chocolate of the salon.
The 3rd annual San Francisco International Chocolate Salon
San Francisco, CA
||Friday, March 20, 2009
We made a wheyward journey to the 3rd annual California Artisan Cheese Festival opening reception:
... where guests entered a lac-i-dazical state when confronted with the best cheese spread ever.
The pasture wasn’t greener on the other side of this graze with greatness. The Cowgirls rustled up their sensational St. Pat:
... and Red Hawk cow cheeses, Laura Chenel got our goat with Taupinere and Melodie:
... and we were stuck on Fiscalini’s bandage wrapped Cheddar:
Bellwether Farms sheep ricotta on a flatbread drizzled with honey:
... provided a breakfasty hit followed by a pungent punch from the Pt. Reyes Farmstead original blue reserve:
Coagulations were in order for La Clarine Farm, Cypress Grove and Redwood Hill which we washed down with Handley Cellars Pinot Noir and Lagunitas Hop Stoopid Ale:
... (because it would have been stoopid to pass up this citrusy hopportunity.)
As the festivities wound down, all of the producers gave a synchronized sales pitch to the camera:
... surrounded by a crowd hungry for culture.
Events continue through Monday the 23rd. Check the website for schedule and ticket information.
California’s Artisan Cheese Festival
March 20-23, 2009
||Thursday, March 19, 2009
We had a fun afternoon speaking with a bunch of San Francisco students who treated us to the latest in Japanese dessert developments - chocolate marshmallow manju made by Benkyodo.
This is a new flavor for 2009 which means that this year, for the first time, samurai can sit around the campfire and enjoy this graham cracker-less take on s’mores. The absence of a brittle cracker makes for ninja noise levels while noshing on these subtly sweet, cocoa infused bean, marshmallow and rice balls.
You can learn a lot hanging out with the right people.
1747 Buchanan St.
San Francisco, CA
||Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Standouts during our lunch with D at Va de Vi:
... were the spear-ringy asparagus ($8.00):
... which arrived hot off the grill with a Meyer lemon remoulade and the perfectly cooked (I requested it on the rare side) Alaskan black cod ($14.00):
... which was served on a potato pedestal with seaweed and pickled ginger.
We chatted as we chomped on Rock Shrip and Avocado Lumpia ($12.00):
... wasabi tobiko topped Ahi tartare ($15.00):
... with sesame rice crackers, Kennebec fries ($7.00):
... which were overshadowed by the raw, chopped garlic, while the house made potato chips:
... were the root division that we dug. These crisps came with a pulled pork sandwich ($10.00) on a brioche bun, with grilled tomatoes and arugula.
We liked the diminutive dimensions of this dining room compared to those of its sister SF restaurant, Pres a Vi. There is also a cool fish pond:
... in the back for coy Walnut Creekians nutty about water.
Va de Vi
1511 Mt. Diablo Blvd.
Walnut Creek, CA
||Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Was it the good food or the green screen ready setting that attracted Food Network’s peroxide punter to San Rafael’s Sol Food? Even though I get a little twinge of dread that one of our eating stops is being networkized, selling Sol will probably help keep this place out of the red. I personally do not think that Sol Food qualifies as a diner, drive-in or dive but since somebody ploughed their car into it last year, I suppose that they are technically eligible.
We ploughed through our greens in the ensalada con pollo ($9.25):
... which required a shower of their vinegar pepper sauce to achieve full pollofication. Their avocado ripening program haas never fallen below pitential, yielding green wedges of tree butter skirting plump thighs, pickled onions, yuppie salad mix and tomatoes.
Even though I’m not crazy about the French bread, I know that replacing it with pain au levain would strip the regional vibe from the chow and the bistec sandwich ($8.95):
... is pretty tasty despite this limitation. Thin slices of grass-fed beef, melted Swiss cheese, aioli, sauteed onions, avocado and an assist from some more of that pepper sauce placed this sandwich in the reorder category. If you are a meat eater, but not a wheat eater, you can get a beef sandwiched between two large tostones (smooshed, fried, plantains.)
Sol Food Puerto Rican Cuisine
901 Lincoln Ave.
San Rafael, CA
||Monday, March 16, 2009
We’re really not into the whole green beer thing, but we do enjoy the giant wall of cabbage that greets us at the market this time of year. Our 43¢ purchase provided us with an excellent excuse to try Michael Ruhlman’s sandwich recipe.
We figured that if the co-writer of the French Laundry Cookbook ate these for lunch on a regular basis, they must be worth a try.
We picked up some non-artisanal wheat bread, spread it with peanut butter, grated and seasoned some carrots and topped it with a slab of cab:
This crunchy, salty, sweet and nutty lunch is what we refer to as fetish food - the kind of chow you usually enjoy in private. It was odd, satisfying and would probably pair well with green beer.
Mark your Calendar